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NextGame 33

(Written 1999-2000)
Review Info
Super NES
Nintendo 64
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Awards and Praise


Rating: 50%
Genre: Games that are 2Bad 2Like 2Much
Appeal: Extreme sportsmen and posers
Ha ha ha, seems Sony couldn't hold onto the ESPN license for this sequel.  But that's alright, because it's still a really lacking game.  Sure, beating up people at insane speeds is fun (and you get to do it in four different sports), but Road Rash is better.  And here's a funny tidbit: The original ESPN Extreme Games was repackaged as "1Extreme" at one point!

Battle Arena Toshinden
Rating: 60%
Genre: Eye Candy City
Appeal: The poor souls who have no hands with which to play this
BAT may look pretty (or at least it did in 1995), but the gameplay?...  Average.  Woefully average.  A case of outer beauty over inner beauty.  However, since most people go for outer beauty, I'll have to recommend this!

Battle Arena Toshinden 2
Rating: 50%
Genre: Games of the "Who needs it?" variety
Appeal: Those of us who didn't realize the total lack of great gameplay in the original
Okay, so the first Toshinden was cool because of its nice graphics and not because of its gameplay.  It was a showcase of the PSX's power.  Why would anyone want another "game" just like it?  The answer evades me, but apparently, enough people bought it to warrant more bad sequels.  Toshinden URA...  What were they thinking?

Bushido Blade
Rating: 75%
Genre: Weapon-based fighting... realistic weapon-based fighting
Appeal: Fighters who were horribly crippled in battle and have nothing to do but play games
If you played this game expecting another Soul Blade, then chances are you cried when the computer finished you off in one hit.  I know I did.  Actually, that's a lie.  Anyways, Bushido Blade is cool because of its psycho-realism.  Too bad the single-player mode is so weak.  At least Soul Blade had that neat story mode.

C: The Contra Adventure
Rating: 70%
Genre: Better 32-bit Contra
Appeal: Gun nuts and a few others, like myself!
I don't see why the critics bashed this second PSX Contra game so much.  It's not that bad, really!  Honest!  It may have a few balance problems, but the 3D scenes are just like you'd expect a 3D Contra to be.  Oh yeah, and don't pay more than $20, because this is short.  I only paid $5, actually.  I rented it.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Rating: 90%
Genre: Exploration of Dracula's huge (and slightly dangerous) abode
Appeal: Richter Belmont, because he gets to kill Dracula in the FIRST SCENE
It's Castlevania meets Metroid in this father-son vampire battle to the finish.  The winner gets a lifetime supply of human blood, while the loser gets dead.  Many consider this to be the greatest Castlevania of them all!  With that information in mind, go out and buy it, because it's bargain-priced.  Kudos to Konami!

Contra: Legacy of War
Rating: 45%
Genre: Franchise cash-in!  Booo!
Appeal: Contra fans with little sense left in them
I knew something was wrong when I first saw the previews for this awful game.  A tiny character, muddy graphics, and above all, mediocre first impressions from journalists.  Since I'm such a Contra fan, I rented this despite its lousy reviews.  Blegh.  The top-down view just doesn't work that well here.  Not nearly as cool as it should be.

Cool Boarders
Rating: ??
Genre: Snowboarding, I think
Appeal: I don't know, I just don't know!
Yeah, I've played this game, but I just don't know how to rate it!  See, I don't normally play sports games or serious racing games at all, so I have no idea if this is any good or not.  On the other hand, I doubt that anyone actually CARES, so I'll just keep my mouth shut.  (By the way, the professional critics liked this one.)

Crash Bandicoot
Rating: 80%
Genre: Mascot monkey business
Appeal: Many hip dudes, except for a jealous Sonic the Hedgehog
Yep, Crash was supposed to be the official Playstation mascot, and so far, he's been doing his job pretty well.  The game plays like a side-scroller, only it's in 3D.  'Nuff said.  Though it's a bit frustrating, I'm sure many of youse kids would gladly try to find all of the secret stuff, even if it means playing 'till your brains ooze out your eyes.

Crash Bandicoot 2
Rating: 85%
Genre: Bandicoot hipness
Appeal: Apparently, enough people to warrant this sequel
Crash 2 is a bit better than the first one.  5% better, to be exact.  Maybe it's just me, but I think they may have easied the game up a bit.  More secrets to look for as well.  Just one thing: If Crash's little sister can talk, WHY CAN'T HE???  It's a question I've been pondering since I first played the game, and I don't think my pondering will cease anytime soon.  What's wrong with me?

Dark Forces
Rating: 65%
Genre: Star Wars Merchandise (tm)
Appeal: The few people who have come to love Mr. Lucas's series
Despite every Star Wars film bombing at the box office and every Star Wars game selling under 50,000 units (at least to my knowledge), LucasArts decided to do this PC to PSX port.  The Playstation was more than capable of handling DF, but instead, the designers left us with a choppy, bad-lookin' game.  It's still kinda fun, just MORE fun on the PC.

Deathtrap Dungeon
Rating: 60%
Genre: Dark, dank, bloody, and 3D, this game is
Appeal: Anyone who remembers the medieval ages fondly
Start with Tomb Raider, take away the cool graphics and frame rate, muffle the sound, add a whole lot of hacking and slashing, and you've pretty much got Deathtrap Dungeon.  There's a lot of emphasis on combat, which would have been fine, had the combat been better.  I don't usually complain about games being too long, but this was terribly long!  Worth the $15 I paid, though.

Die Hard Trilogy
Rating: 85%
Appeal: Bruce Willis, whose voice is used for DHT's intelligent in-game samples
It may not be the smartest game in the world, but once you get the hang of it, prepare to have fun!  The three different games include a third-person action game, a first-person shooting game, and a really bloody driving game.  Tons of fun no matter how many times you play it, plus you get to see pigeons (and humans) being blown up!

Duke Nukem 3D
Rating: 60%
Genre: PC Ports that are lousy.  Blunt, but true
Appeal: The same people who liked the Dark Forces PSX port
A moron I once knew had this game.  He was one of those weirdniks who thought that console games were always better than their PC counterparts.  What he didn't realize was that this was a bad conversion of a really good game!  Bad graphics, lousy frame rates, a gamepad...  As I remember, he said "Duh, dis better den stupid compuder Dukem Nukem!  Compuders bad!  Playstation good!"

Rating: 80%
Genre: A new type of R-Type
Appeal: Square fans who actually have other interests besides RPGs
It's not every day that you come across a cool new space shooter.  Never mind cool and new, it's hard to find space shooters period these days!  On the other hand, this cool game almost makes up for Xevious 3D/G.  It's fast, it's 3D, and it's got explosions!

Excalibur 2555 AD
Rating: 45%
Genre: Tomb Raider with a midget of some sort who is unable to jump
Appeal: Midgets who need a role model
Well, okay, Beth is not really a midget, but she is very short, and she can't jump.  All she can do is go on fool's errands for a bunch of creepy underground dwellers.  Methinks this game was one of the reasons SirTech's publishing division is no more.  If only more thought had gone into this one...

Fighting Force
Rating: 65%
Genre: Fighting Farce
Appeal: Beady-eyed children bent on killing.  Or not
The plan: Final Fight in 3D with more background interaction.  The result: A real snorefest.  While having two players definitely helps, it seems that the game designers' plan was to send wave after wave after wave of the same guys after you, level after level.  It was like that in Final Fight, but at least the actual fighting wasn't so dull.  Die Hard Arcade is much shorter, but much better!  Bah!

Final Fantasy VII
Rating: 100%
Genre: Stop reading this and go buy it
Appeal: No, really
This is the first game to receive a rating with three digits.  Before playing, I didn't even know if I liked RPGs much.  After playing, I found my answer.  Great graphics, great story, great music, great battles, great, great, great.  Why, it's terribly great!  Despite its large size, I've played it through 2 1/2 times.  Really great game.

Final Fantasy VIII
Rating: 80%
Genre: Oy, utterly disappointing games
Appeal: Apparently, many gamers who aren't me
A lot of RPG fans have hailed this as being better than FFVII.  What the hell are they thinking?!  The great graphics are back, but everything else is worse.  I'd have to say that the battles, for at least the first two discs, are some of the most dull I've ever seen in any game!  Maybe I just wasn't playing the "right way", but it seemed that GF attacks were by far more powerful (and boring) than anything else.

Rating: 35%
Genre: Hopping.  And hopping.  And hopping...
Appeal: Our amphibian friends who finally get a 3D update to their aging game
If you're older than me, then you may remember playing Frogger in the arcades.  It was a game about a frog who has to cross the road.  Imagine playing as that same stupid frog during level after level after level, hopping across all sorts of typical game environments.  The charm is lost!  Frogger should have never been updated in the first place!  Go broil its legs!

Heart of Darkness
Rating: 70%
Genre: Out of this World with higher production values
Appeal: Fans of Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Antz...
Ack!  This took more than four years to design!  The graphics are purdy, but the gameplay is about on the level of Out of this World (which was designed by the same guy).  While this isn't a completely bad thing, it's kinda obvious that this one was way too long in the coming.  Short, too.  At least this was popular in Europe...

Rating: 70%
Genre: Hades-hating
Appeal: Danny DeVito, proud of hearing his voice repeated over and over and over
This game was officially endorsed by Mike Eisner and the Gang.  The gameplay may seem a bit slow, but believe me when I say a good time will be had by most.  Especially the young 'uns.  I rented this with a "free rental" coupon (there was nothing else worth renting, believe it or not), and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

Independence Day
Rating: 60%
Genre: Flight games with as much realism as the ID4 film
Appeal: Probably those crazy kids who bought all the rest of the ID4 merchandise
Saving the world was never this much of a pain.  Okay, so you fly (unrealistically) around shooting up the alien mothership, and then celebrating by doing it all over again in the next level.  Yeah, it could get boring.  On the plus side, Will Smith didn't lend his voice to this game.  Just imagine him shouting "Whoooo, wicky wicky Wild Wild West!" every time she shoots an alien.  Shudder...

Jet Moto
Rating: 75%
Genre: Jetski / land vehicle racing
Appeal: Mountain Dew addicts and their younger "I wanna be cool" Surge addict little brothers
I have to admit, it's a strange game.  I mean, jetski / land vehicle?  Proposterous!  I hope the designers didn't want me to think that this game was realistic, because their attempt was futile!  It's not WaveRace, but it is good, so try it already.

Jet Moto 2
Rating: 75%
Genre: The Second Annual Jetski Motocross Championships
Appeal: The same Mountain Dew addicts who liked the first one, but now they're older and wiser
The junkies may be wiser, but the game designers weren't!  Nicer graphics, but the tracks usually aren't quite up to the coolness level of the original.  I once met a guy who said he lost his arm riding one of the contraptions from Jet Moto.  Kind of scary, since they don't exist.  Maybe he was just on crack.

Jumping Flash 2
Rating: 80%
Genre: It's like... first-person, except it has lots of jumping...  Good enough!
Appeal: Mechanical wabbits
You've probably never seen a game quite like Jumping Flash 2.  Well, except for possibly Jumping Flash 1.  But other than that, it's completely original.  JF2 can best be described as a first-person platform game with high jumping, and boy, is it high.  Try it, you'll like it!

Kileak: The DNA Imperative
Rating: 50%
Genre: Robot shooters that are not good
Appeal: Any looney who buys it for $7 used
Kileak is further proof that there are no 1995 Playstation games worth playing today (except for maybe Jumping Flash).  You're a robot and you shoot other robots, mostly in long, narrow corridors.  Oh, gee, sounds like a lot of fun, huh?

The King of Fighters '95
Rating: 65%
Genre: 2D fighting.  I'll leave it at that...
Appeal: Those crazy derelicts at the arcade who live for this stuff (no, not the cast of The Wizard)
Leave it to SNK to release a game with "95" at the end of the title in late 1996.  What's even more unfortunate is that this could have been done in 1992.  Sure, it plays well, but there are times when good gameplay just doesn't guarantee tons of fun.  If only SNK would do a US port of Metal Slug...

Lode Runner: The Legend Returns
Rating: 55%
Genre: Dumping your lodes
Appeal: You know something?...  I've got no clue
This is a 1998 Playstation release of a 1994 Windows game based on a 1983 Apple IIe game.  The Apple IIe version was lodes of fun, the Windows version was just plain dull, and this version...  ANCIENT.  A graphical update and level editor don't make it any better.  Too bad.

Rating: 80%
Genre: Murder Death Kill?  Max Doc Kurt?  I dunno...
Appeal: Gamers without computers (why are you reading this?)
Unless you've got a 90 MHz machine, there's no reason to buy the PSX version of this excellent game.  Stealth and cunning are needed to defeat your adversaries, so use them.  Good luck finding a new copy of this: Playmates Interactive Entertainment is no more.  I think it was PowerSlave and Meat Puppet that murdered them.

Metal Gear Solid
Rating: 90%
Genre: Tactical espionage something or other
Appeal: Spy wannabes and real spies who haven't learned how to do their job yet
Wow, MGS lived up to the hype.  It turned out really... uhh... good!  The crazy thing is that you actually have to think before you run into a room and blast everyone's head into pieces.  There are consequences for that sort of thing, you know (and I'm not talking about jail).  Oh yeah, and there's also a storyline of some sort.  Buy now!

Mortal Kombat 3
Rating: 70%
Genre: Games that have gone on for far too long
Appeal: Anyone who felt that they needed a PSX for a game that the SNES easily handled
When MK3 was released in the arcades, it seemed like a pile of ancient dinosaur crap next to a Virtua Fighter 2 machine.  While it doesn't seem that great at first, the frantic action kind of grows on you.  It may not have been a shining example of the PSX's power, the Saturn had it even worse: it had MKII from Acclaim!

Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Rating: 70%
Genre: More Kombat
Appeal: You p-sychos who bought every other game in the series
Hmm, nearly every character from every MK game...  That's a lot of color-swapping!  I found it amusing to watch metal-arms Jax fight with flesh-arms Jax.  On the other hand the game structure is pretty much the same as that of MK3, and thus, it wasn't worth the price of a rental.  Ho-hum.

Rating: 75%
Genre: 2 1/2-D stuff all the way!
Appeal: Li'l sorceresses and creepy, poorly-dressed jesters
"Wait a minute...  There's something funny about this side-scroller...  It has polygons!"  These words were uttered by the legions of dudes who played Pandemonium.  They may have been crazy for talking to themselves, but they weren't crazy to think that there was something different about this game.  It's just as fun and frustrating as any side-scroller.

Parappa the Rapper
Rating: 80%
Genre: Rappin' dog tries to woo sunflower girl
Appeal: Well, my own dog didn't seem to like the music very much
Now, here's a game with an original concept.  The music is really, really memorable, too!  I rented this game back in December of 1997, and the tunes are still in my head as of two years later!  Also, I'm pleased to say that this game includes no "gangster rap".  I wouldn't want to see Parappa get shot by former homie "Onion Man".

Primal Rage
Ratng: 50%
Genre: More like Primitive Rage
Appeal: If the year was 1995, I'm sure even I would have been interested
Well well, what do we have here?  A long-forgotten-about 2D fighting game that was done well enough on the SNES and Genesis.  Punching those tiny humans was always kind of fun, which is more than I can say for the actual fighting.  I think there was once a planned sequel to this.  In a stroke of brilliance, someone canceled it.

Rebel Assault 2
Rating: 55%
Genre: Star Snores
Appeal: Star Wars fans, maybe?  But you knew that already!
Well, it's the same linear, FMV-laden, track-based game that the first one was, only now the graphics have been slightly improved.  As you might be able to tell from looking at the game's genre, it's kind of really dull.  There are plenty of games around that I've given higher scores, so why should anyone want to play this one?

Rating: 45%
Genre: Once-edgy but now just lame violent games
Appeal: Psycho killer clowns and meat-loving cannibal girls
I certainly hopes the original was better than this.  My friend and I rented this because it looked like a cool two-player bloodfest.  It only succeeded in the fact that it supported two players.  Unfortunately, this didn't make it a whole lot more fun.  We played for about 20 minutes before realizing that it was utter crap and kicking ourselves for choosing it.

Resident Evil
Rating: 90%
Genre: Alone in the Dark with 1996 production values
Appeal: Those guys who played zombies in Night of the Living Dead
Yeah, RE is a lot like Alone in the Dark.  On the other hand, it's also a lot better.  Anyone who's played it will tell you that this game makes you wet your pants out of pure fear.  Well, okay, maybe that's just me, but take my word for it: bring an extra set of pants.

Resident Evil 2
Rating: 90%
Genre: Resident Evil with 1998 production values
Appeal: The surviving S.T.A.R.S. members from the first game, because they weren't in this one
The zombies return, and so does the bad voice work.  I've heard that Claire, one of the main characters, is voiced by the woman on The Big Comfy Couch.  She is more convincing as a clown on this PBS series than she is here.  By the way, the first RE is scarier than its sequel.

Soul Blade
Rating: 85%
Genre: Soulbladian action in the days of chamber pots
Appeal: Aspiring knights.  Or just people who like fighting games
Soul Blade is one of the few fighting games I've played that I found really addictive.  Maybe it was because I usually ended up playing against an actual human (I was at a summer camp).  Or maybe it's just that hitting people with swords is fun.

Soviet Strike
Rating: 75%
Genre: Explosion-bringing madness, in 32 bits!
Appeal: The Soviets, I suppose.  Unless they realize that they are the bad guys in this game...
Though I couldn't really get into this game as much as some people could, I have to admit, it seemed pretty good.  That rhymed.  You've got a lot of weapons at your disposal, so you get to go crazy, but at times, it seemed that the baddies were just lazy.  I'll shut up, now.

Spice World
Rating: 5%
Genre: Parappa the Rapper with the addition of crap
Appeal: Wannabe Spice Girls
This would have gotten a 0% if the Spice Girls weren't so pretty.  Actually, the "game" even ruined this by showing them as cartoony midgets.  You can make the girls dance to their "music" by pressing a few buttons, which is fun until you realize that it's not.  By the way, I played this in a store.  I did not buy or even rent it.  Please believe me!

Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi
Rating: 55%
Genre: Product tie-in central.  Oh, goody
Appeal: Masters of Star Wars Fandom
I can imagine how the idea for this game originated.  George Lucas was taking a break from his "hard work" on the Phantom Menace script, when he began simulating a fight between Han Solo and Chewbacca with a couple of action figures.  When his secretary walked in, Georgie felt that he needed to justify his childish behavior, and thus, the idea for MoTK was born.

Street Fighter Alpha
Rating: 70%
Genre: M. Bison-bashing
Appeal: The same nut cases who liked SFII, King of Fighters, Darkstalkers, Fatal Fury...
I never should have had the opportunity to play this game.  See, I had ordered a used copy of Wild Arms from a mail order company, and much to my dismay, I received... this.  Bah!  I don't think I'll ever order anything from BRE Software again!  I wonder if they would have sent me Wild Arms if I had ordered SF Alpha...

Rating: 80%
Genre: Tek-nologically cool fighting
Appeal: Tek-nical guys who love them purdy graphics
It's pretty cool that a game as silky smooth and nice looking as Tekken could have been released the same year as Mortal Kombat 3.  No one in their right mind would want to play this today (unless they're really nostalgic for this sort of thing) thanks to more recent Tekkens, but back in the day... Tekken was sweeet.

Tekken 2
Rating: 85%
Genre: Wrastlin' on the flattest of flat landscapes
Appeal: Big guys in army uniforms made ENTIRELY OF METAL!  Play the game...
You know those "more recent Tekkens" I mentioned in the above review?  This is one of 'em!  I'm sure there are a lot of fans out there who would give this even higher marks, but I was never completely "into" the whole fighting game phenomenon.  Mainly because they took valuable space at the arcades away from Sunset Riders and TMNT!  Thanks, Street Fighter.

Time Commando
Rating: 70%
Genre: 3D Sci-Fi Final Fight fun
Appeal: Fans of The Time Machine, as this game lets them live out their dream...
As the Time Commando, you must go back (and forward) through different time periods, meeting lots of interesting people.  Then you must beat the snot out of them with whatever weapons you might find.  Though it doesn't really control that well, what could be more fun than clobbering a huge bear over the head with a primitive caveman club?  Well, it's fun until you get slaughtered...

Tomb Raider
Rating: 90%
Genre: Playstation's Greatest Hits
Appeal: Strangely enough, this game seems to be shunned by women and loved by men...
The original TR is very possibly the best.  Lara Croft, the game's heroine (as if you didn't know), has become a victim of the plague known as "overexposure".  You know they've gone too far when you see Ms. Croft promoting the "Lucozade" sports drink in Europe.  In a few years, she'll become a drunken pig like many former stars.  Trust me on this!

Tomb Raider II
Rating: 85%
Genre: Prince of Persia in 3D that's not Prince of Persia 3D
Appeal: Tomb Raiding, only you don't visit tombs (?)
It's kind of strange that this is called Tomb Raider, since you end up visiting places like FRANCE.  A little after this game's release, I think that everyone was starting to get tired of hearing about Lara Croft and her moron fanatic followers.  I'm starting to wish that someone would just put a huge scar right across her face...

Tunnel B1
Rating: 65%
Genre: Box-brutalizing
Appeal: Certainly not the boxes
Right now, you must be thinking "Box-brutalizing?!  What the heck is that all about?!  Who is this Madguy person, anyway?!  He's a real schmuck!"  I can assure you that what I have said about boxes makes perfect sense.  You see, there are a great many boxes in this game, and, well, you get to blow them up.  In fact, a good portion of the game is spent doing this.

Twisted Metal 2
Rating: 65%
Genre: Car-brutalizing!  Yeeeaaaahhhh!
Appeal: The same kids who enjoy strapping firecrackers to Hot Wheels cars
Though I didn't have much of a chance to play the one-player game, it didn't seem like a whole load of greatness.  The split-screen two-player mode was sort of amusing, but only sort of.  It's basically deathmatch with added speed.  I think this was more popular that it should have been.

Wild Arms
Rating: 80%
Genre: RPG with actual gameplay beyond exploration and fighting?
Appeal: Wild dudes.  Yeah...
When I read that this game was better than Final Fantasy VII, I realized I had to try it.  Never listen to a psycho hardcore RPG fanatic!  Wild Arms is pretty good, but it didn't hold my interest as much as I'd hoped it would.  Unlike most other console RPGs, this had real puzzles in it, which was kind of refreshing.  The open-ended gameplay was a bit confusing, though.

Rating: 80%
Genre: Worming your way to the top
Appeal: Birds looking for their next meal
Worms is not a very popular game with females ("Ewwwww, gross!  Worms!").  However, a lot of guys like me enjoy it just fine.  I had absolutely no idea that worms were such incredibly violent creatures.  If you ask me, using exploding sheep to blow the worm guts out of your enemy is a really dirty tactic.

X-Men vs. Street Fighter
Rating: 65%
Genre: "Uh oh, I smell another cheap Capcom crossover."
Appeal: Wolverine and his new buddy, Dhalsim
I, for one, never once wondered what it would look like if the Street Fighter characters all teamed up against the X-Men superheroes.  Did you?  Wait, don't answer that... I don't really care.  A friend of mine rented this, and while it was kind of amusing, he would have been better off renting a bowl of crap.  Ewww, why did I just write that?

Rating: 85%
Genre: Xenoriffic XRPG
Appeal: Random battles seem to enjoy this game, because they play such a large part in it
I have to admit, Xenogears is a very good RPG.  Hardcore RPG nuts will go psycho over it.  After all, it's an entertaining, nice-looking game with a good plot and innovative battles.  My only two real beefs with the game: Too many battles, and too much game!  This thing is #&%* huge!  After my game clock reached 35 hours, I just wanted this to be over!  It wasn't...

Rating: 70%
Genre: "Zis is some delicious Zoop!"  Heh heh heh...
Appeal: You nutty, lazy kids who have free time up the wazoo
They call this a Playstation game?!  It was nearly the same on Game Boy!  Although it may seem a bit antique (even for a 1995 PSX game), rest assured, it's actually rather addictive.  On the other hand, if you want to get good, you'll have to invest some actual time in it.  Have fun.  You've been warned...